This shatkarma is intended for purification of abdominal area, more particularly the digestive system. Purification is of two kinds: Antar-Dhauti (internal cleaning) and Bahir-Dhauti (external cleaning). Antar-Dhauti can be made in three ways. Take a fine piece of muslin cloth, 3 inches wide and 15 feet long. The borders should be stitched well and no pieces of loose thread should be hanging from its sides. Wash it with soap before use and make it clean. Dip it in tepid water. Squeeze out the water and swallow one end of it little by little. On the first day swallow only one foot. Keep it there for a few seconds and then take it out very slowly. On the next day swallow a little more and keep it for a few minutes and then take it out slowly. Thus little by little you can swallow the whole length, retain it for about 5 minutes and then take it out. Do not be hasty. Do not injure your throat by rough handling. When the Kriya is over drink a cup of milk. This is a sort of lubrication for the throat. This shatkarma should be done when your stomach is empty. Morning time is good.
You need not practise this every day. Once in 4 days or a week is sufficient. This shatkarma cannot at all do any harm if gradually practised. Everyone will feel a little vomiting sensation on the first 2 or 3 attempts. As soon as the Kriya is over, wash the cloth with soap and keep it always clean. This is an excellent exercise for those who are of a flabby and phlegmatic constitution. Gradual steady practice cures Gulma, gastritis, dyspepsia, diseases of the stomach and spleen, disorder of phlegm and bile. This exercise is also known as Vastra Dhauti. This is one variety of Antar-Dhauti.
There are some people who can drink plenty of water and pass it through the anus immediately. It is called Varisara Dhauti. This is an effective method. This exercise is also known as "Sang Pachar Kriya". This is not possible for the vast majority of persons. Nauli and Uddiyana Bandha should be combined for performing this exercise. Even the smoke of a cigarette can be passed out through the anus.
Drink a large quantity of water and shake the abdominal portions. Contract the stomach and vomit the water. This exercise goes with the name "Kunjala Kriya". This is also a kind of purificatory exercise.
Internal cleaning can be made also by swallowing air. Fill up the stomach with plenty of air. It is done by hiccough. Just as you swallow food little by little, so also you can swallow air and fill up the stomach and intestines. You will have to learn this from the man who can do this Kriya. When you contract the abdominal muscles, the air will pass away through the anus as Apana Vayu. Those who can fill up their stomach with air, can float on water just like a dead body and can also live on air and water alone for some days without any food. Those who can do Antar-Dhauti in any way, need not go in for any purgative or laxative. They will never suffer from indigestion or constipation.
The shatkarma 'Basti' is intended to serve the purpose of "enema" to pass out the accumulation of faeces from the intestinal canal. It is difficult shatkarma and should be practiced under proper guidance of a guru. There are two forms of this shatkarma, viz., Sthala Basti and Jala Basti.
STHALA BASTI: Sit on the ground and catch hold of your toes with fingers. Do not bend the knees. This is exactly like the Paschimottanasana, but here you need not bring your head to the knees. Assuming this posture, churn the abdominal muscles and dominal muscles and expel the water. It cures uriter muscles. This is Sthala Basti.
JALA BASTI: This is more effective than Sthala Basti. Take a small bamboo tube, five inches long. Lubricate one end of it with vaseline, oil or soap. Sit in a tub of water or in a tank in knee-level of water in Utkatasana. Insert the bamboo tube about 2 or 3 inches into the anus. Contract the anus. Draw the water into the intestines slowly. Shake the abdominal muscles and expel the water. It cures urinary troubles, dropsy, constipation, etc. You should not do this everyday and make it a habit. This is only for occasional use. Do this in the morning hours before taking meals. If you do not know how to draw in the water through the tube, then you can use the ordinary syringe that is available in the market. By the use of the bamboo, you will know the method of drawing water through the anus. But in the enema syringe water is being pushed in by the help of air. That is only the difference but the result is the same in both cases. By using the bamboo tube you can have mastery over the intestinal muscles by drawing in and pushing out the water at your command.
The shatkarma 'Neti' is intended for the purification of the nostrils. The nostrils must be kept always clean. Unclean nostrils will lead you to irregular breathing. Irregular breathing will make you sick.
Take a fine piece of thread about 12 inches long. There should not be any knot in the middle of the thread. It should not be too thin and weak. Insert one end of it into the right nostril and catch hold of the other end firmly. Make a forcible, continuous inhalation and pass it inside. Then slowly pull it out. Again in the same way pass it through the left nostril and take it out slowly. Do not injure your nostrils through violent pulling. After some practice, pass the thread through one nostril and take it out through the other. In the beginning you will begin to sneeze profusely when you insert the thread into the nose. This passes off after 3 or 4 attempts. This shatkarma can be practised when you find that your nostril is blocked from cold.
There is another easy method of cleaning the nostrils. Take some cold water in your hand or in a wide-mouthed cup. Draw the water slowly through the nose and expel it forcibly through the nose. There are many who can do this quite easily. After one or two attempts some persons may suffer from slight cold and cough when they begin to learn this. As soon as they are all right, again, they can practise.
You have seen many who draw the smoke of a cigarette through the mouth and pass it by the nose quite easily. If cigarette users try, they can draw the smoke through one nostril and pass it out by the other nostril or by the mouth. In the same way water also can be passed quite easily.
Drawing water and expelling it through the nose is known as 'Seet-Krama'. If you draw water through the nose and expel it through the mouth, it is called 'Vyut-Krama'. In Gheranda Samhita it is stated that this Neti Kriya purifies the skull and produces clairvoyance (Divya Drishti). Rhinitis and coryza are also cured by this shatkarma.
Nauli Kriya is a shatkarma which is intended for regenerating, invigorating and stimulating the abdominal viscera and the gastro-intestinal or alimentary system. For the practice of Nauli you should know the Uddiyana Bandha. Uddiyana can be done even in a sitting posture; but this shatkarma, Nauli is generally done while standing.
Stage I: Do a strong and forcible expiration through the mouth and keep the lungs completely empty. Contract and forcibly draw the abdominal muscles towards the back. This is Uddiyana Bandha. This is the first stage of Nauli. Uddiyana Bandha terminates in Nauli.
For practising Nauli, stand up. Keep the right leg a foot apart from the left leg. If you keep up the feet close together, at times you may lose the balance and stumble down. Rest your hands on the thighs, thus making a slight curve of the back. Then do Uddiyana Bandha. Do this for one week before proceeding to the next stage.
Stage II: Now allow the centre of the abdomen free by contracting the left and right side of the abdomen. You will have all the muscles in the centre in a vertical line. This is called Madhyama Nauli. Keep it as long as you can with comfort. Do only this much for a few days.
Stage III: Here you should contract the right side of the abdomen and allow the left side free. You will have the muscles on the left side only. This is called Vama Nauli. Again contract the left side muscles and allow the right side free. This is Dakshina Nauli. By having such gradual practices, you will understand how to contract the muscles of the central, left and right sides of the abdomen. You will also notice how they move from side to side. In this stage you will see the abdominal muscles only in the central, right or the left side. Practise this stage for a week.
Stage IV: Keep the muscles in the centre. Slowly bring to the right side and then to left side in a circular way. Do this several times from the right to left side and then do it in a reverse way from the left to right side. You should turn the muscles always with a circular motion slowly. When you advance in the practice of shatkarma you can do it quickly; but you can derive full benefits of this shatkarma when you do it very slowly and gradually. This last stage of Nauli will appear like 'churning' when the abdominal muscles are isolated and rotated from side to side.
Beginners will feel slight pain of abdomen in the first two or three attempts. They need not fear and stop the practice. The pain will vanish away in 2 or 3 days. When Nauli is demonstrated by the advanced Yogic student, the onlookers will be extremely surprised to look at the movements of the abdominal muscles. They will feel as if an engine is working in the abdominal factory.
When beginners want to do Dakshina Nauli, they should slightly bend towards the left side and contract the left muscles. When they want to do Vama Nauli, let them bend a little to the right side. In Madhyama Nauli, push the entire muscles forward by contracting the two sides.
This exercise is not at all possible for those who have a barrel-like belly. When they find it difficult to carry their own belly, they cannot at all dream of getting success in this Kriya. They can also try by gradual slow practice. For getting success, they must exert hard and have rigorous practice for a long time. Those who have a tender body can very easily learn and perform this shatkarma in a beautiful and efficient manner.
'Trataka' is steady gazing at a particular point or object without winking. Though this is one of the shatkarma, it is mainly intended for developing concentration and mental focusing. This shatkarma is very useful for the students of Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. There is no other effective method for the control of the mind. Some of the students who claim that they belong to Jnana Yoga, neglect such important exercises since they are described under Hatha Yogic portions. Sri Ramana Maharshi the famous Jnani of Tiruvannamalai, was doing this exercise. You could have seen it clearly if you had been to his Ashram for his Darshan. While seated on his sofa in his room, he used to gaze on the walls. When he sat on the veranda in an easy-chair, he steadily looked at the distant hills or at the sky. This enabled him to keep up a balanced state of mind. Nothing could distract his mind. He was very calm and cool always. He was not at all distracted by any one even though his Bhaktas might be talking and singing by his side.
(1) Gaze on a black dot on a white wall or draw a black mark on a piece of white paper and hang it on the wall in front of you.
(2) Draw the picture 'Om' on a piece of paper and have it before your seat. Do Trataka on it.
(3) Lie down on an open terrace and gaze at a particular bright star or on the full moon. After some time, you will see different colours of lights. Again some time later, you will see only a particular colour throughout, and all other surrounding stars will disappear. When you gaze at the moon, you will see only a bright moon on a black background. At times you will see a huge mass of light all around you. When gazing becomes more intense, you can also see two or three moons of the same size and at times you cannot see any moon at all even though your eyes may be wide open.
(4) Select at random any place in the open sky in the morning or evening hours and gaze at it steadily. You will get new inspirations.
(5) Look at a mirror and gaze at the pupil of your eye.
(6) Some people do Trataka at the space between the two eyebrows or at the tip of the nose. Even during walking, some persons do Trataka at the tip of the nose.
(7) Advanced students can do Trataka at the inner Chakras, (Padmas). Muladhara, Anahata, Ajna and Sahasrara are the important centres for Trataka.
(8) Keep a ghee-lamp before you and gaze at the flames. Some astral entities give Darshan through the flames.
(9) Very few Yogins do Trataka on the sun. It requires the help of an experienced man by their side. They begin to gaze on the rising sun and after gradual practice they do Trataka on the sun even in the midday. They get some special Siddhis (psychic powers) by this practice. All are not fit for this Sadhana. All the first 9 exercises will suit everyone and they are harmless. The last one, sun-gazing should not be attempted until you get the help of an experienced man.
Just for a refreshing experience and to realize how this practice affect your mind n body, I suggest you to play following video in full screen. It is the tratak with divine sound "So...Ham"
When you do the practice in your meditation room, sit in your favourite Asana (posture), Siddhasana or Padmasana. At other times you can do in a standing or sitting posture. Trataka can be profitably done even when you walk. As you walk along the streets, do not look hither and thither. Gaze at the tip of the nose or toes. There are many persons who do not look at the face when they talk to others. They have their own gaze at a particular place and talk. No particular Asana is required for this Sadhana.
When you gaze at a picture, it is Trataka. When you close your eyes and mentally visualise the picture, it is Saguna Dhyana (meditation with form). When you associate the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, purity, perfection, etc., the name and the form of the object of Trataka will automatically disappear and you will enter into Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation).
Do Trataka for two minutes to start with. Then cautiously increase the period. Do not be impatient. Gradual steady practice is required. Gazing at a spot even for three full hours continuously counts for nothing, if the mind is wandering. The mind also must be on the spot. Then only you will advance in this practice and attain many psychic powers.
Those who cannot gaze steadily for a second in spite of several attempts, need not worry much. They can close their eyes and gaze at an imaginary spot at the space between the two eyebrows.
Those who have very weak eye-capillaries should do Trataka after closing their eyes on any imaginary spot within or without. Do not tax your eyes by over-practice. When you feel tired, close your eyes and keep your mind on the object of Trataka. When you sit and do Trataka do not shake the body.
Trataka improves eyesight. Many who had some eye-troubles have realised immense benefits by Trataka. Going beyond one's own power and gazing at the sun without any help may produce serious troubles. For gazing on the sun you must have your guide by your side. The Guru will prescribe some oil to rub on your head to avoid such serious troubles and to cool the system. You should apply honey to your eyes at night when you practise sun-gazing.
The same object of gazing will appear as something else during the practice. You will have many other visions. Different people have different experiences. You will not even believe certain things when others tell you of their experiences. Trataka alone cannot give you all Siddhis. After the control of the mind, when it becomes steady, you will have to manipulate the mind by prescribed methods for the attainment of powers. Therefore the powers that are obtained by this practice may vary in different persons. It depends upon the further training of the mind, in a particular way.
Young aspirants, who pose as big Yogins, neglect such practices and ask whether this practice is Moksha. Certainly that practice itself is not Moksha. Different practices are for the attainment of Moksha. One can attain the goal by a particular method, others by different methods. Remember this point always. Otherwise you will be neglecting all the methods. You will be misguided and lose the goal if you neglect the Sadhana.
By the practice of Trataka, diseases of the eyes are removed. Eye-sight improves. Many have thrown away their spectacles after taking to this practice. Will-power is developed. Vikshepa is destroyed. It steadies the mind. Clairvoyance, thought-reading, psychic cure and other Siddhis are obtained very easily.
Once again I will tell you that Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, etc., are not incompatibles like Cocaine and Soda Bicarbonate. They are not antagonistic to each other. Do not neglect this exercise for the mere reason that it comes under Hatha Yoga portions. Even though you may claim to be a student of Jnana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, you can take to this practice. It is a very effective powerful remedy for a wandering mind. It prepares the mind undoubtedly for perfect Dhyana and Samadhi. This is assuredly a means for the end. You must ascend the Yogic ladder or stair-case step by step. Several persons have been benefited by this useful exercise. Why not you, also, dear friend, sincerely attempt to practise this from this moment? I have given you different exercises for Trataka. Select any one of the methods that suits you best and realise the spiritual benefits. Do this for one month regularly and let me know your experiences, benefits and also troubles, if any.
Kapalabhati is a shatkarma for the purification of skull and lungs. Though this is one of the Shatkarma (six purificatory exercises), yet it is a variety of Pranayama exercises.
To perform this shatkarma, sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Keep the hands on the knees. Perform Puraka (inhalation) and Rechaka (exhalation) rapidly. Those who can do Bhastrika Pranayama can easily do this. In Bhastrika there is a Kumbhaka (retention of breath) for a long time at the end of the required rounds. But in Kapalabhati there is no Kumbhaka. Again in Kapalabhati, Puraka is very long and mild, but Rechaka is too quick and forcible. In Bhastrika, Puraka is done as quickly as Rechaka. This is the only difference between Kapalabhati and Bhastrika. In Kapalabhati, Rechaka should be done forcibly and quickly by contracting the abdominal muscles with backward push. To start with, have only one expulsion per second. In the beginning do 10 expulsions per round. Gradually increase 10 expulsions to each round till you get 120 expulsions for each round.
It cleanses the respiratory system and nasal passages. It removes spasm in bronchial tubes. Consequently Asthma is relieved and cured also in course of time. Constipation is cured by this shatkarma. Impurities of the blood are thrown out. The circulatory and respiratory systems are toned to a considerable degree. Shat-Karmas are intended for the purification of the body. When Nadis are impure Kundalini cannot pass from the Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. Purification of Nadis is effected through Pranayama. For Pranayama, you should know well about Prana.
Excerpt from the book Kundalini Yoga by Swami Sivananda. A book with vital information about the kundalini, its role for human consciousness and how yoga can help in the path for spiritual growth and enlightenment.
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